Monday, May 18, 2009


Star Trek, Sentencing, and Sense

So, like 98% of American, I saw the new Star Trek movie. Like everyone else, I liked it. However, I am left with one burning question:

It's the 23d century. They can travel through space, beam things from place to place, and receive unlimited energy from di-lithium crystals. But, somehow, no one have put seat belts in the Enterprise. Every time they get hit by a Klingon spaceball or whatever, the whole crew flies around like pinballs. What the heck!

Back in the 21st century (even the 20th in many jurisdictions), seat belt use was mandatory, and violation a ticketable offense. What happened to those laws? Did they simply fall away?

Someone explain this to me, please.

First and foremost, dilithium crystals are only the one part of the star drive system, or 'warp core'. The matter/anti-matter reaction is what supplies the energy for faster than light travel. And, the starships carry a limited amount of anti-matter.

Second, all of the ships are equiped with intertial dampeners, which somehow defy the laws of physics to keep you from being crushed by the sudden jump to near light speed AND replicate Earth's gravity. When struck by weapns, the dampeners can't compensate and/or are damaged.

There were also several flaws in their time-travel framework, but we'll save that for later...
I found the lack of pockets on clothes far more nonsensical.
Obviously, at some point Republicans gained control again and deregulation goes... awry.
I am part of the 2% who has not and probably won't see the movie. Not because I don't like Star Trek, but because I just don't go to movies very often. They eventually end up on TV or for rent at Blockbuster for $1.

Maybe they can't get to their phasers has enough if they wear seatbelts?
Great movie! Spock is my fav character so y'all know I loved it.

My thought is that they are sent out on an exploration/peacekeeping mission...they are not supposed to be at war with anybody. So...they have shields (which don't seem to ever work well) and phasers to "stun" people. Utopians should not need seatbelts. The Federation is woefully unaware of how things truly stand on the edges of the frontier. (Laws vs. DEA/FBI/CIA agent reality?)

Did Wrath of Khan teach us nothing?
I'm with Tom. The Libertarians won.

On the other hand, scrutinizing the minutiae of SF, while a time-honored tradition (eg, engineers complaining Nives Ringworld would be unstable), inevitably detracts from the greater narrative. And while I enjoyed the movie, having never so much as seen any other Star Trek shows, I felt it more an excuse for J.J. Abrams to offer 2.5 hours of shiny, mindlessly fun fan service. Maybe the next installment will be weightier on plot.
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There are some problems with the inertial dampeners in combat, but the Apple engineering paradigm seems to have won the future, and they're not going to ruin the aesthetic of the design for a feature that will be rarely used.
Actually, it was the Sarah Palin/Carrie Prejean ticket in 2016 that did away with all business-related regulations.
Ted Nugent
Who would have thought Palin/Prejean would have so soundly trounced the Franken/Frank ticket?

It HAD to be the pandas...
Mr. Nuge (I can call you that, right?) - few prospects are as frightening to me as the prospect of a woman that makes elk chili from animals she shot from a helicopter and a faux-religious opportunist cyborg running the country. I know we expect politicians to be fake, but not literally so.
My problem is with Spock's bowl haircut. Seriously. BANGS??? REALLLY???

Its just not a good look for him.
Man, I hope so much that is the real Ted Nugent commenting on the Razor. This could make political mayhem Thursday so much fun in the future.

Lane - I want to make this clear. I find the entire Carrie Prejean story silly. Really silly. But, what makes you able to call her "faux-religious"? And, what's wrong with a woman that hunts? And who eats what she kills?

Oh, and to explain the lack of seatbelts on the Enterprise, I'm going to go with: it is a movie and it is more fun to watch people fall around and bump into things than it is to watch them sit securely in their seats when a space alien is shooting at them.
Nothing is wrong with hunting. Lots is wrong with hunting with high-powered firearms from aircraft.

As for Prejean, her answer wasn't particularly offensive or religious. It was neutral and tactful. But all of a sudden she's the darling of an increasingly shrill and deranged homophobic movement (eg, the preposterous "Coming Storm" video), at a time when several states are showing notable progress. On the one hand, she's a crusader for evangelical Christianity, except for that whole beauty pageant/plastic surgery bit, which is at odds with the values of said brand of Christianity.

It smacks of opportunism. However, it has revealed the fact that evangelical posturing about "feminine morality" is less about sexuality and more about women sticking with traditional, patriarchal gender roles. Proof is in the pudding.
Here is what bothers me. You would certainly argue that if some blowhard comes out against partial nudity in fashion magazines that they are a puritanical old-fashioned conservative moron, and should go back to the 1800s when they could lock women in the basement to make sure they kept their clothes on. So, why in this case, where she clearly agrees with you on this issue, does that upset you? I mean, in order to be religious do you have to buy into every doctrine of the born again movement? If a person is anti-censorship but anti-gay marriage as well, shouldn't we applaud their position on the former and seek to change their position on the latter, instead of telling them that both positions are invalid because in our little worldview they aren't consistent?

And none of that deals with how she is "faux religious." I mean, the bible does contain some discussions on homosexuality. What those discussions mean, and whether or not we should use them to justify law in this country, aside, I can see how a person could hold the opinion that gay marriage was a sin while also believing that it might be okay to show a little nipple in a photograph. Just because it doesn't fit inside the box of the religious zealots whose ideology you have identified as being distasteful doesn't make her brand of religion any less valid, or any less real, does it?
I think the whole Carrie Prejean thing is NOT a story, period. She can think what she thinks and say what she wants and show all the skin she wants. I don't care.

What IS stupid are beauty pageants . . . I mean, what do you expect from the kinds of questions they ask? And she was semi-nude not long before she answered it . . . the whole thing is a non-story. I object to both sides using it to try to mean something.

There was actually a middle-ground answer to the question, because he asked something about whether states should decide the issue of gay marriage, not particularly whether she believed in it or not. She could've given a more lawyerly answer, the old "let the states decide" answer, and nothing would've come of it.

How did we get on this topic? Oh yeah, the Palin/Prejean ticket . . . well, I'll try to say something good, which is that at least it would be two women.
Oh, and you forgot the implants, RRL. They're OK in Republican women.
It's because Star Fleet is not a military organization.

For what you are expected to do, and do do all the time, the inertial damping system is sufficient.

Completely agree about the pockets, however.
Actually, it might surprise you that my stance on nudity, even partial nudity in magazines, might be quasi-prude.

Not that I think there's anything wrong with nudity, or showing nudity in magazines. But most of the time, it's done in a way that objectifies women (and not in a good way) and cheapens sexuality by reducing it (esp. female sexuality) to a commodity, which in turn robs women of a unique sexual identity and forces them into patriarchal gender roles regarding sex, which are inherently heteronorma... you get the picture.

What upsets me is the hypocrisy of both Ms. Prejean and her religious supporters. Were it not for her comment on gay marriage, she would be another cheap, tawdry whore to them -- breast implants, make-up, racy photos, etc. I don't have moral objections to these things, but evangelicals do. I know more moderate Christians don't either, but she's not the darling of Methodists in Texas. She's the darling of evangelicals across the nation because she supports their prejudices on gay marriage...

Or at least, she appears to. As I said, her answer at the pageant was pretty neutral. But when publicity (and money) presents itself to you as an opportunity, you shouldn't just take it. I don't see her "religion," qua faith in God, as something important to her. If it were, I think she'd be a different person. Those who authentically are Christian, for example, tend to be against breast implants and posing nude or near-nude in magazines.

But to these people, it's OK for her to do that, because women are supposed to want to look pretty (for men) and put themselves through dangerous diets and surgery (for men) and be girly and enter pageants (for men). As long as she fits their mold of "ideal American female sexuality" and supports their "no queers at the altar" message, they'll take her.

And that strikes me as inauthentic.
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